It was 2 p.m., and she was running. She hated running. Loathed it really. She felt like it was something only masochists would truly enjoy. That's what made it so appropriate. Today she was punishing herself.
Each foot slapped gracelessly down on the treadmill, the rhythm of her feet echoing the repetitive questions in her mind. Every thump of her foot turned into Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? As in, “Why him? Why cancer? Why now?”
Occasionally, the whys would turn into hows. How? How? How? How? How? Except there was no variation to this question. It was always, “How can I continue?”
The only other refrain was a simpler one. Idiot, idiot, idiot, idiot. It had too many syllables for just one footfall, though, so instead it was slower, more measured. Id-i-ot. Id-i-ot. Id-i-ot.
That last day, he tried to comfort her. She hated to see him like that, pale and wasted. The face looking at her, the skeleton holding her hand, was not the man she married five years ago. He saw her dismay, her fear. He knew that no matter what she said to his face, she was three steps short of panic. He had gotten sick too quickly, they had caught it too late. Three months was not long enough to adjust.
“Hey,” he said.
“A priest, a rabbi and a minister walked into a bar...”
She rolled her eyes. “And?”